Public Safety continues to operate under Acting Director Michael McNair as a search committee is considering applicants to serve as the permanent head of the department, including McNair himself.
Pat Kelshian, executive director of Risk Management and Safety Services, is heading the search committee to find a replacement for Colleen Carson, who left the University last November after six sexual attacks on campus brought up questions about campus safety.
The committee, which includes Beth Muha, executive director of Human Resources; Dean of Students Faith Leonard; and Julie Weber, executive director of Housing and Dining Programs, has been going through applicant resumes and planning outreach programs for McNair, Kelshian said. The process is following, Kelshian said, “a mission I have and I know [AU President Benjamin] Ladner and the administration have as far as the direction.”
“I am going to set up opportunities for the AU community to meet with him,” Kelshian said. “I have been very pleased [with McNair]. He’s been doing some outreach with students in particular in TDR.”
McNair eats lunch during the week in TDR, he said, and has been meeting with students to find out how safe they feel around campus.
“I’m very, very, very encouraged by the student participation,” McNair said. “I was surprised by the number of students who said they were safe on campus.”
McNair has used a map of campus to have students pinpoint the places on campus where they do not feel safe, he said. He plans to make additional visits with the map on main campus, as well as to Tenley Campus, McNair said.
“I’m sure I’ll get a different response from Tenley and maybe even the night students,” McNair said.
The Student Confederation, AU’s student government, had planned a campus forum to meet McNair for Jan. 26, but the school closure due a snow storm the previous day caused the event to be cancelled, according to Mark Meadows, SC chief of staff.
“We’re working on rescheduling,” Meadows said. “The problem was that we had this schedule all set up and then the snowstorm hit and threw the schedule off.”
The forum has no definite date yet, Meadows said, but it may occur in mid-March after Spring Break. Kelshian is hoping the SC reschedules the event.
“We’re certainly open and willing to do the open forum when the Student Confederation is willing to continue,” Kelshian said. “The next steps are contingent on what we hear from students.”
After some more student reaction, Kelshian said the committee will be able to make a decision on a new director, in which McNair is a possibility. McNair said he would be willing to continue full-time, if he is asked.
“I think this is a very warm and welcoming environment to work in,” McNair said. “I’m very interested in assisting the AU community in making the campus the kind of environment they feel safe and can study and work in.”
McNair has held one “Meet the Chief” event, where students are surveyed on campus safety, so far, but plans to hold a second today in TDR, he said.
“I am also going to do a ‘Meet the Chief’ at Ward Circle Building where it is more populated in the evening with night students,” McNair said. “I also want to cover the Tenley Campus because I understand they don’t come ... to TDR.”